Labor Markets Mixed in Advanced Economies

Unemployment Falls in U.S. and Japan, Still Rising In Much of Europe

Jan 16, 2014, 10:00 ET from The Conference Board

NEW YORK, Jan. 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Labor markets are mixed across many advanced economies, according to unemployment rates and employment growth data compiled and standardized by The Conference Board International Labor Comparisons (ILC) program for November.

The unemployment rate in November rose in three of the nine countries compared, was unchanged in three, and fell in three. The U.S. saw the largest decline, by 0.2 points to 7.0 percent, followed by the Netherlands and Japan, which continues to have the lowest unemployment (3.5 percent). By contrast, Italy was the month's worse performer, seeing unemployment rise 0.3 points to 12.9 percent, a record high. Sweden and Australia also saw joblessness rise.

"Unemployment has declined rapidly in the U.S. in recent months, while remaining unchanged or increasing in many European countries," said Elizabeth Crofoot, Senior Economist with the International Labor Comparisons program at The Conference Board. "As a result we may begin to see joblessness in the U.S. and the Euro Area diverge over the coming months. However, Germany, which is Europe's largest economy and which enjoys better economic conditions than most of Europe, is currently experiencing the lowest unemployment rates since unification in 1991."

Employment in November rose in all economies compared except Sweden, Italy, and the Netherlands. The U.S. saw the largest increase in its employment index, followed by Japan and Canada. Italy continues to have the lowest employment index (96.6), while Australia has the highest (111.9). At 99.6 and 98.9, respectively, employment indexes in Japan and the U.S. are approaching their index levels of 2007 (= 100) for the first time since the recession.

About Adjusted Employment Data and International Labor Comparisons (ILC)
Governments vary in the methods and definitions used to calculate labor force statistics. To facilitate comparison across countries, The Conference Board adjusts unemployment rates and employment indexes to match U.S. concepts. A monthly report compiles adjusted data for ten countries, alongside unadjusted unemployment rates from ten additional economies in Europe. All data is seasonally adjusted; employment indexes are benchmarked to January 2007 (= 100). 

The data is published as part of The Conference Board International Labor Comparisons program. Formerly a division of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ILC is dedicated to producing economic indicators that optimize research, comparison, and planning in a global context.

For more information about The Conference Board ILC program:

For the associated report, tables, and technical notes, see International Unemployment Rates and Employment Indexes, Seasonally Adjusted.

About The Conference Board
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